Prosperity Poem by Bernard O'Dowd


Enlaced with gardened jewelry
My basking villas nest
Where sifted sunshine soothes the eye
And cosy hillocks rest.

Convention's fronds here screen from view
Immodest Nature's haunt,
And wizard Distance veils in blue
The haggard peaks of Want.

The millions fast that I may feast,
And drudge that I may play;
But Average, complacent priest,
Condones the wrong away:

Finesse, my statesman, calculates
Subjection's breaking strain,
And Comfort crooning mitigates
The drifting moan of pain.

My sages God's commandments frame
From maxims of the desk:
My Art, from poverty and shame,
Evolves the Picturesque:

By glamour haloed, leering Lust
So angel-like appears
That Scruple loses her distrust,
And Innocence her fears.

Secure I lounge upon the shore
Where Anger's breakers throb,
Or, high above the marsh, ignore
Its ague-smitten mob.

The highways to Desire I hold,
And fatten on the fees;
My hungry Science gathers gold
From limbecks of disease.

Success, my sorcerer, refines
My murder-tainted hoard,
And hides the felon weals and lines
With which my back is scored:

He perfumes from my women's gowns
Their tainted makers' shame;
In Glory cyclic Wrong he drowns,
And Treachery in Fame.

Who reaches me a stream must ford
Whose poppied waters dim
Old dreams of wielding Freedom's sword
And chanting Freedom's hymn:

Must hold the claims of Discontent
Mere envies of the mass;
That Life's repose was only meant
To dower the ruling class:

Must learn that Nature weakness scorns,
That God the serfs ignores,
That Toil deserves its crown of thorns,
And Poverty its sores;

That tho' 'tis wise with Charity
Torrential Need to dam,
The Hope of Progress is a lie
And Brotherhood a sham.

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